To Die For

Author: Kali (thirty2flavors)
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine. Hurrah, Rowling.
Summary: They always say that right before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. I never bought it. James' thoughts during the last few seconds of his life.
Author's Notes: Been writing this for a long time, too. Finally turned it into something I'm happy with. Yay. I am pressed for time so I don't have much to say... I guess it can be taken as a companion of sorts to Take Me With You. The flying rat thing in here is a direct reference to my dear friend Anna's fic, Latio Interlunium, so you should go read that now.

I also changed 'twenty years' to 'ten', because I realized my math is so, so dreadful.

Review and I'll love you forever.

They always say that right before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. I never bought it. It didn't make any sense. How could your entire life flash before your eyes right before you die? In a split second, you're expected to remember every triumph, every downfall, every love, every loss, everything? Yeah, right. Before you die you are far more focused on the fact that you're going to die.

I knew what was coming the instant he raised his wand. Thin, merciless lips smirked mockingly; unpleasant, menacing high-pitched laughter made the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention.

To be frank, I hadn't an ice cube's chance in hell.

My first wand was snapped and broken by the door, the second had turned to useless shards in my hand, and even if I had tried, I knew I hadn't nearly the reflexes required to dodge. I wasn't going to be lucky. Not this time. It was the end – roadblock, fin, over and done with, closed case, cue the music and roll the credits.

That was about when I realized you don't remember everything – just the important stuff.

All at once, my mind surged with dormant images and memories, like picking up an old photo album, brushing the dust off of it and flipping through all the yellowed pages – in less than half a second. Memory after memory resurfaced, all at a rate so fast that, if I had time to think about it, I would have wondered how I managed to take it all in.

Our mothers, old friends, introduced Peter and I to each other for the first time at his fifth birthday. My grandfather got me on a broom the first time when I was eight. I was sorted into Gryffindor, to the surprise of no one. Peter and I shared a dorm with Remus and Sirius. Our first successful prank – we flew rats around the halls and resultantly coerced Filch's cat into leaping into the toilet. We pieced it together and confronted Remus about being a werewolf.

We successfully became illegal Animagi. I saved Snape's life. Remus, Sirius and I refused to speak to each other. Sirius ran away from home and arrived on my doorstep. Lily finally agreed to go out with me. We were in Auror Academy. We were part of the Order. I proposed; she said yes. We were married. Defied him once. My parents' funeral. Defied him twice more. Harry was born. A prophecy was made. Suspicions ran high. We chose a Secret Keeper.

I told Lily to run.

It was like watching a movie in fast-forward.

I thought about my parents. They were the mold that shaped the rest of my life, they paved the path to make way for my lifetime, they taught me right from wrong, illegal from immoral, good from bad and black from white. I owe my Dad my sense of humor, my unruly hair, my taste for mischief and my unusually fast metabolism; I owe my Mum my sweet-tooth, my loyalty, my near-sightedness, my over-protectiveness and my inability to make a decent cup of tea.

I hoped, at least, I'd get to see them.

I thought about Peter. He was the first person I was ever really friends with, the first person to fall victim to my natural talent for getting into trouble, my first partner-in-crime, my first voice of reason and my first magical guinea pig. As time wore on, he wasn't my best friend, but he was my longest, and sometimes that counts for more than you might think. He may not have always been able to keep up with Sirius, Remus and me, but he was always running, and that made all the difference.

I hoped he was okay.

I thought about Remus. He was the first person I ever met to completely confuse me, and in that way, he was the first person to ever really challenge me. He was the first – and only – person to ever let me copy their homework. He was perpetually sympathetic and understanding, a never-moving shoulder to lean on and an always-open ear to listen. He was my conscience when my own failed me and the optimist when I couldn't be. He was the motive behind the Marauders and he was the most admirable person I ever knew.

I hoped he understood.

I thought about Sirius. He was my unwavering companion no matter the circumstances, my best man and the closest I ever came to a sibling. He was my accomplice, my back-up, the Cheech to my Chong and the only one who always knew, every time, when I was bluffing in Exploding Snap. Sirius was the one I refused to consider, flat out, for even a second to be the traitor; Sirius was the one I went to first for Secret-Keeper; Sirius was the only one whose advice I would heed.

I hoped he'd be all right.

I thought about Lily. I loved her more than I'd ever imagined possible. After ten years she entranced me, her red hair constantly caught my eye and her green eyes captivated me. She was the one I never got sick of – she was the one I always wanted to know more about, to memorize. She was the one I wanted to wake up to every day. She was the one I could never live without. She was the one I wanted to grow old with.

I hoped she got the chance to grow old on her own.

And, of course, I thought about Harry. Before he was born, I never thought it humanly possible for something to evoke in me such love and such terror all at once. He was so tiny and yet so indescribably monumental. I wanted nothing more than to guarantee him a safe society to grow up in, a nice world to live in and a warm family to come home to.

I hoped he had a long, happy life – and I hoped he beat the bastard.

Somehow, all of that ran through my brain at once, in a fragment of a second, and before I knew it I was focused on the world around me again, on the room full of broken furniture, on the wand pointed straight at my chest and on the soulless rubies pinned on me. His thin lips parted to make way for two words and I knew in a second or so I'd be a martyr to the cause.

I think I know, though, why you get that burst of nostalgia. It makes you realize what you had, and what I had was amazing. It was something to fight for.

To die for, even.


I smiled.